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    how does the effect of alcohol while boating compare to its effect while on land?


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    BUI Initiatives

    Did you know:

    A boat operator is likely to become impaired more quickly than a driver, drink for drink?

    The penalties for BUI can include large fines, revocation of operator privileges and serious jail terms?

    The use of alcohol is involved in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities?

    Every boater needs to understand the risks of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs (BUI). It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state. The Coast Guard also enforces a federal law that prohibits BUI. This law pertains to ALL boats (from canoes and rowboats to the largest ships)  and includes foreign vessels that operate in U.S. waters, as well as U.S. vessels on the high seas.

    Dangers of BUI

    Alcohol affects judgment, vision, balance and coordination. These impairments increase the likelihood of accidents afloat for both passengers and boat operators. U.S. Coast Guard data shows that in boating deaths involving alcohol use, over half the victims capsized their boats and/or fell overboard.

    Alcohol is even more hazardous on the water than on land. The marine environment  motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray accelerates a drinker's impairment. These stressors cause fatigue that makes a boat operator's coordination, judgment and reaction time decline even faster when using alcohol.

    Alcohol can also be more dangerous to boaters because boat operators are often less experienced and less confident on the water than on the highway. Recreational boaters don't have the benefit of experiencing daily boat operation. In fact, boaters average only 110 hours on the water per year.

    Alcohol Effects

    Alcohol has many physical effects that directly threaten safety and well-being on the water.

    When a boater or passenger drinks, the following occur:

    Cognitive abilities and judgment deteriorate, making it harder to process information, assess situations, and make good choices.

    Physical performance is impaired - evidenced by balance problems, lack of coordination, and increased reaction time.

    Vision is affected, including decreased peripheral vision, reduced depth perception, decreased night vision, poor focus, and difficulty in distinguishing colors (particularly red and green).

    Inner ear disturbances can make it impossible for a person who falls into the water to distinguish up from down.

    Alcohol creates a physical sensation of warmth - which may prevent a person in cold water from getting out before hypothermia sets in.

    As a result of these factors, a boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration above .10 percent is estimated to be more than 10 times as likely to die in a boating accident than an operator with zero blood alcohol concentration. Passengers are also at greatly increased risk for injury and death - especially if they are also using alcohol.

    Estimating Impairment

    This table gives a guide to average impacts of alcohol consumption. However, many factors, including prescription medications and fatigue, can affect an individual's response to alcohol, and impairment can occur much more quickly as a result. There is NO safe threshold for drinking and operating a boat, so do not assume you are safe just because you fall into the "rarely" or "possibly" influenced categories.


    Drinks Body Weight in Pounds Influenced

    100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240

    1 0.04 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.02 RARELY

    2 0.09* 0.07* 0.06* 0.06* 0.05* 0.04 0.04 0.04

    3 0.13 0.11 0.09* 0.08* 0.07* 0.07* 0.06* 0.06*

    4 0.18 0.15 0.13 0.11 0.1 0.09* 0.08* 0.07* POSSIBLY*

    5 0.22 0.18 0.16 0.14 0.12 0.11 0.1 0.09*

    6 0.26 0.22 0.19 0.17 0.15 0.13 0.12 0.11

    7 0.31 0.26 0.22 0.19 0.17 0.15 0.14 0.13 DEFINITELY

    8 0.35 0.29 0.25 0.22 0.2 0.18 0.16 0.15

    9 0.4 0.33 0.28 0.25 0.22 0.2 0.18 0.17

    10 0.44 0.37 0.31 0.28 0.24 0.22 0.2 0.18

    The asterisk ( * ) indicates estimated levels of impairment that could mean the individual is possibly influenced.

    Enforcement and Penalties

    The Coast Guard and every state have stringent penalties for violating BUI laws. Penalties can include large fines, suspension or revocation of boat operator privileges, and jail terms. The Coast Guard and the states cooperate fully in enforcement in order to remove impaired boat operators from the waters.

    In waters that are overseen solely by the states, the states have the authority to enforce their own BUI statutes. In state waters that are also subject to U.S. jurisdiction, there is concurrent jurisdiction. That means if a boater is apprehended under Federal law in these waters, the Coast Guard will (unless precluded by state law) request that state law enforcement officers take the intoxicated boater into custody.

    When the Coast Guard determines that an operator is impaired, the voyage may be terminated. The vessel will be brought to mooring by the Coast Guard or a competent and un-intoxicated person on board the recreational vessel. Depending on the circumstances, the Coast Guard may arrest the operator, detain the operator until sober, or turn the operator over to state or local authorities.

    Tips for Avoiding BUI

    Boating, fishing and other water sports are fun in their own right. Alcohol can turn a great day on the water into the tragedy of a lifetime.

    Source : www.uscgboating.org

    How Does The Effect Of Alcohol While Boating Compare To Its Effect While On Land

    One of the hottest questions among recreational boaters is as follows – how does the effect of alcohol while boating compare to its effect while on land?

    How Does the Effect of Alcohol While Boating Compare to Its Effect While on Land


    One of the hottest questions among recreational boaters is as follows – how does the effect of alcohol while boating compare to its effect while on land?

    Well, the effects are actually significantly worse because of waves, heat, wind, noise, and vibration. With that, drinking on board is a really bad idea, even if you limit yourself to just one drink.

    This isn’t the end of the story – there are some other important things to know as well. Read on to find out everything you need to know about boating and drinking!

    In This Article hide

    The Negative Effects of Alcohol Consumption

    Alcohol is Actually Way Worse on Water than on Land

    Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

    How Does Alcohol Use Affect Boat Operators or Passengers?

    Boating & Drinking Alcohol Statistics

    How Much Do You Have to Drink to Become Impaired?

    Boating Alcohol Laws – Is it Illegal to Boat Under the Influence?

    What to Do if Your Boating Party Involves Drinking?

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can You Get a DUI on a Boat?

    What Will Increase the Effects of Alcohol and Drugs when Boating?

    Can You Drink on a Boat if You are Not Driving?

    How Does the Effect of Alcohol While Boating Compare to Its Effect While on Land – Conclusion

    The Negative Effects of Alcohol Consumption

    Alcohol has many side effects on the human body, including but not limited to:

    Behavioral changes. Slurred speech. Fatigue. Blackouts.

    Changes in coordination.

    There are some possible long-term negative effects as well, including lung infections, cancer, liver damage, and heart damage.

    Alcohol cocktails

    Decision-making is altered under the influence too – one study showed that under the influence, people have an impaired ability to weigh risks and gains when gambling.

    Alcohol is also notorious for its effects on drivers. Even in very small concentrations, alcohol can significantly impair one’s driving ability.

    Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream of an individual. In the United States, driving with a BAC of 0.08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) is illegal for drivers over 21. An exception is Utah where the limit was lowered to just 0.05 in 2018.

    You have to take a few drinks to reach 0.08 BAC, but the negative effects of alcohol are visible at much lower concentrations.

    According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, here are some of the effects of alcohol on drivers at different concentrations.

    BAC Typical effects Predictable effects on driving0.02 Some loss of judgment, relaxation, altered mood Impaired ability of tracking moving targets, declined multi-tasking0.05 Impaired judgment, lowered alertness, worse small-muscle control, difficulties with focusing eyes Difficulty steering, slower response to emergency situations, reduced coordination and ability to track moving objects0.08 Poor speech, balance, hearing, and reaction time Short-term memory loss, reduced ability to detect signals, impaired perception0.10 Strong deterioration of reaction time, slurred speech, slowed thinking, poor coordination Reduced ability to maintain lanes and brake0.15 Major loss of balance, vomiting, weak muscle control Substantial impairment in vehicle control

    Alcohol is Actually Way Worse on Water than on Land

    What do the effects of alcohol on driving have to do with boating? Well, you are going to experience more or less the same effects on your ability to operate a boat. The chart above should give you a clear idea of what to expect when operating a boat under the influence.

    Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

    Furthermore, boating under the influence is actually FAR WORSE than driving under the influence (DUI). This doesn’t make DUI in any way better or preferable – it’s just the way things are.

    There are several factors that make BUI (boating under the influence) very dangerous:


    Motion caused by waves.

    Vibration. The sun. Wind. Water spray.

    These are things that you will not encounter in a typical driving scenario.

    If you’ve ever driven under the influence (we hope that you’ve not), then you know how difficult it can become to make decisions and navigate safely. What would happen if you also add rolling, sun, wind, and water to the equation?

    These factors are disorienting even when you are sober. When under the influence, effects like these will compound with the effects that alcohol has by itself.

    Man drinking alcohol

    How Does Alcohol Use Affect Boat Operators or Passengers?

    As it pertains to boating, the United States Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division brings the following effects of alcohol on boaters:

    Source : www.desperatesailors.com

    Minimize Risk by Avoiding Alcohol

    Minimize Risk by Avoiding Alcohol

    The effect of alcohol is increased by the natural stressors placed on your body while boating. Also, alcohol causes dehydration of your body. It takes less alcohol, combined with stressors, to impair an operator’s ability to operate safely. Research has proven that one-third of the amount of alcohol that it takes to make a person legally intoxicated on land can make a boater equally intoxicated on the water.

    Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, affects judgment, and slows physical reaction time. Most people become impaired after only one drink.

    Alcohol makes it difficult for you to pay attention and perform multiple tasks. For example, it will be more difficult for you to keep track of two or more vessels operating in your area. This could become critical if you are placed in an emergency situation and must make a sudden decision.

    Alcohol can reduce your ability to distinguish colors, especially red and green.

    Source : www.boat-ed.com

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